Dyson returns to a familiar role as Royals search for offense

With the Royals signing Raul Ibanez, Jarrod Dyson could be relegated back to a utility role. 

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just when Jarrod Dyson perhaps thought he might have locked down a somewhat full-time job, along comes Raul Ibanez.

Ibanez was in the lineup for the second straight day Wednesday, hitting sixth, as manager Ned Yost and general manager Dayton Moore obviously are trying to jumpstart an inconsistent offense.

It would appear now that Ibanez wasn’t brought in just to be a role player or pinch-hitter off the bench — Ibanez is going to get a chance to take the job in right field, at least on those days he doesn’t need to rest his 42-year-old legs.

The Royals are crossing their fingers that Ibanez, who hit 29 homers last season, still has something left in his power tank. And make no mistake, the Royals’ offense can use any power infusion it can get.

And that means that the ground-covering outfield of Dyson, Lorenzo Cain and Alex Gordon likely will again be mostly a late-inning defensive alignment at best.

This, of course, also means that Dyson likely is back to his familiar role — spot starts for Cain and now Ibanez, as well as late-inning pinch-running and defensive duty.

Dyson believes that the trio of himself, Gordon and Cain probably covers more ground than any in baseball.

"I don’t think there’s a better one," he said last weekend. "I think we all do a pretty good job. You got Alex, a three-time Gold Glove winner, and Cain, who can be a Gold Glover every year, and me. That’s probably pretty good."

And it was a trio that saw plenty of playing time together once Nori Aoki went down to injury.

But the Royals — desperate to score runs — now are willing to sacrifice some of that defense with Ibanez in right in hopes his bat will provide some pop to an offense that has stagnated at times since the 10-game winning streak.

Just last week, Dyson was asked if he felt he could be the team’s everyday center fielder.

"I know I can — there’s no ‘think’ I can," Dyson said. "When you come into the major leagues, you want to play every day. That’s the mindset you have to have.

"If you come in here and you want to be a backup, you’ll probably be out of here before you know it."

While Dyson was in the lineup Wednesday to spell Cain, his future role may be one he knows all too well.

"It’s tough to be patient," he said. "But you have to put the team first and do what you can to help the team. It’s a role I’ve done a long time now and I know how to prepare for it."

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.